Security guards are an essential part of modern-day society. They provide protection for both individuals and physical assets, yet unlike other security services such as the police or armed forces, the powers granted to a security guard are somewhat limited.
Despite the fact that one of the main aims of a Security guard is to maintain a degree of law and order within our society, any actions are taken that are outside of the law may mean facing criminal charges. It’s understandable how when faced with a volatile situation, instinct can inadvertently kick in and compliance can easily be impaired. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, It’s highly unlikely that this reasoning will hold up in a court of law. With this in mind, it’s important for security personnel to understand the complexities of the law, so when they are faced with such a situation, they know just what they should – and more importantly, shouldn’t do.
Section 10.4(2) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code states that:
A person must only carry out self-defensive actions if he/she has reason to believe that it is entirely necessary. This could be:
- To defend themselves or others against the threat
- To protect property from lawful damage, destruction or interference
- To prevent criminal trespass onto any premises or secure land or
- To remove a person who is committing a trespassing offence.
While the majority of situations would merely involve a security guard observing and reporting suspicious details to the police, they may equally be faced with a situation where they need to defend themselves, forcibly remove someone from an area, or use force to protect an individual. But the question is…how far can these defensive actions go, while still remaining within the boundaries of the law?
The answer is (to be honest) a little vague, but in essence, any force used should be both reasonable and minimal for the situation. As an example, a petty shoplifter may well simply respond to the verbal commands of a security guard and should require no more than gentle restraint in order to make detention.
Conversely, if you are under attack from a criminal intent on causing you harm then you should use the minimum amount of force necessary in order to defend yourself.
Perhaps more importantly, to protect you in a court of law…you should be in no doubt that any force used is absolutely necessary and that this belief is based upon reasonable grounds.
What about if criminal charges are presented against you?
If you do find yourself in a police interview, then it’s always best to remain polite but calm. Be clear about your actions and know why you took the steps that you did. You should also seek advice from law experts who can help should the need arise.
At MA Security we’ve been in the security business for over twenty years and pride ourselves on passing on our knowledge and expertise through regular training to our growing team. Part of this training includes the laws surrounding self-defence and when you can and can’t exercise that right.
If you feel that a career in the security sector is for you, then why not call us free on 1300 020 406 to find out more.